January 25, 2013
After 'Kidnapping' Its Youth Group, Church Agrees to Fines and Community Service
Assemblies of God youth pastor was trying to show students how missionaries are persecuted.
A Pennsylvania church that staged a mock kidnapping of its youth group has made a plea agreement with prosecutors.
The incident, which CT noted in May, was a surprise simulation of the persecution faced by missionaries overseas. Glad Tidings Assembly of God faced charges of assault and false imprisonment after a parent complained; but under the deal, the church will pay a $10,000 fine and its youth pastor will "pay a $500 penalty, serve up to a year of probation and do 50 hours of community service," notes Religion Clause.
"I would find a way that we could continue to keep the shock value," said pastor John Lanza shortly after the incident. "But I would find a way to inform the parents."